Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sardona & Swift's Kits Arrive

We are excited and pleased to announce that Sardona our Broken Black New Zealand doe kindled this afternoon and delivered 8 kits.  Two look to be solid and the rest are broken.  She is off to a good start with this first time litter.  She made a beautiful nest and pulled tons of fur to help keep her winter babies nice and warm.

She was also very chatty through the whole process and chirps and chatters could be heard throughout the barn before, during and after kindling.  She has always been a talker.  I am also pleased that with this being her first litter while she was protective of the nest box, she didn't bite or get aggressive with me while I checked it.

Sardona also happens to be my only blue gene carrier in the barn, so while I don't expect any blues, it will be interesting to see how these kits look as their fur comes in.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Free Download: English Spot Evaluation Rating Sheet

Recently I started a project.  I wanted to create evaluation and rating sheets based on the 2016-2020 Standard of Perfection to help to help my kids who are just starting out with rabbits and I remember what to look for as we evaluate bucks and does for breeding pairs and for evaluating the future litters they will have.

Already I have created a New Zealand and a Mini Rex evaluation and rating sheet to help me with the process of understanding and evaluating my rabbits when it comes to deciding which rabbits I should be breeding to which and which kits and juniors are showing the best development and body type to keep for the show team and as future breeders.  And since I found them so helpful I decided that a rating sheet for my daughter to use with her English Spots would be next on the to do list.

So, I spent  a couple of afternoons combing through and pouring over the 2016-2020 Standard of Perfection and now I finally have it put together and ready to share with all of you.

Here is a sample of the first part of the markings section.  This is a 5 page printed form that covers all the general items you look for specific to English Spots as well as each specific requirements for the different color varieties.  It is also editable so that you can choose to print only the color variety you breed and show by deleting the others before you print if you wish.

Since I am hoping this will be a great tool, I am making it available to you as well.  This is a free printable resource.  Please feel free the make changes to it to suit your needs and use as many copies as you like.  I only ask that you direct people to my blog to download their own copy and do not host the file anywhere on the internet without written permission from me.  Thank you.  You can check it out and download it for free from google drive here: English Spot Evaluation & Rating Sheet Download.

As always, I would love to hear from you.  If you have comments or suggestions about how to make this form better send them my way.  Or if you have a story about how this form has helped you I would love to hear about it.  If you love the rating sheet and want to say thanks we are always accepting donations to help feed the rabbits.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

How Do You Wrap a Live Rabbit and Put It Under the Christmas Tree?

Christmas has been much anticipated by me this year.  With my three older children starting to raise rabbits with me I found it to be the perfect time to surprise them with a hutch and a rabbit to add to their breeding goals.

First came the rabbit shopping.  Contacting breeders to find out what is available and arranging time to drive out and pick them up.

Then comes the big question of where and how to hide a rabbit until Christmas.  It all started with the first rabbit to come home for Christmas back in the being of November.  I made a three hour drive round trip to pick up my son's gift.  Then brought one of my daughters gifts home from a show a couple days later.  So how do you hide a rabbit for a month and a half until Christmas time?

Well if you are me, you stack boxes and plywood in a corner of the workshop where the other bunnies live and you leave enough space behind them to tuck the rabbits.  Then you place hide and seek and try to be sneaky twice a day everyday until Christmas morning so the kids don't see you going back there for feeding times and cage cleaning.

This only mostly worked.  By the time we got to Thanksgiving I had failed to be sneaky and my kids were told to just stay out of the corner or they would ruin their Christmas.  I admit that I could have done a better job, maybe kept them in the horse trailer or something.

Then comes the challenge of how do you wrap a live rabbit in a cage to stick it under the tree?  My answer?  Well you don't of coarse.  You print a copy of the rabbits pedigree and roll it into a fancy scroll tied up with ribbon and a tag.  This fits under a tree much nicer than an entire cage and rabbit.  Plus it gives them the added bonus of having to run out to the workshop to find their rabbit.

So we have three new rabbits that have joined the herd and they all have new names:

Butterscotch and red mini rex doe

Chocolate Chip a chocolate english spot doe

Kaire a black tort holland lop buck

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Sassy's Kits are Grown Up and Weaned

Well It's happened our very first litter of rabbits has grown up and moved out of mom's hutch.

Meet Swift and Sassy's Kits:

Thunderstorm (Buck)

Born 10-27-18.  Now in a hutch with his brother.  He is headed to the show in January to see what the judges have to say about him.

Shadow (Buck)

Born 10-27-18.  Now in a hutch with his brother.  He is headed to the show in January to see what the judges have to say about him.

Rosemary (Doe)

Born 10-27-18.  Now in her very own hutch.  She is missing her nose marking and not headed for the show table.  She is now available for sale as a pet or meat rabbit.  Check her out on our sale page.

We couldn't be happier about these kits growing up and moving out of mom's hutch.  Mom gets a little bit of a rest before her next litter arrives and we get to watch and see how they grow into their potential.

Monday, December 24, 2018

A Mini-Rex That IS NOT a Mini-Rex

As you may or may not know my daughter Clarissa is starting a Mini-Rex black and orange tri-color breeding project because these are the colors of mini rex that she wants to focus on.  Well when you are breeding for tri-color that best thing to do is to start with tri-color and harlequin colored rabbits.  So we have been in the market for some show quality pedigreed rabbits of both types in black and orange.

So one afternoon I see a post on Facebook for a mini-rex harlequin buck that comes with his cage and all his supplies.  My daughter is beyond excited because she has the money saved up for just this very thing and we make arrangements to go out and pick up the rabbit.  So we drove one and a half hours together while listening to Pollyanna on Audible in the car and chit-chatting.  It was a fun mother daughter afternoon.

I had told my daughter before we rang the bell to observe and listen carefully and to everything and ask as many questions as she needed to before we ran through our buying checklist.

When we arrive we can both immediately tell that this rabbit is not mini-rex.  Then we learn that it doesn't have a pedigree.  Then we learn that she doesn't even know how old it is or anything at all about the rabbit because her uncle gave it to her as a gift.  And it desperately needs a new home because it doesn't get along with her dogs and she is worried about it getting hurt.  His name is Twix.

Her only question:  "Are you sure this is a mini-rex?"

We looked at each other and I gave Clarissa a nod and a look that said this bunny is coming home with us regardless and we went through our checklist to make sure he was healthy.  He was super mellow and friendly and looked healthy.  We definitely had a buck.  He also seemed to handle the cats she had without a second thought.

Twix's Deluxe Housing
So we paid her for him loaded him up and headed home.  He might be a mystery bunny as far as breed goes, but he fit right in at our house.  He is nestled into our front room that we use for school and living life and he loves the busy-ness of it all.  Watching our cats and dogs go by, seeing the kids working on schoolwork, playing and going in and out the back door.  He loves it all.  And everyday when the dogs go out he gets to hop around the house for his playtime.

I am writing this post not because I dislike what happened when we went to pick up our newest rabbit, but because it seems to be a common thing that happens and one I was not prepared to deal with before we arrived.  Many people get a rabbit as a gift or buy one without reading or knowing anything about rabbits.  Then the rabbit grows up and gets past the cute, little ball of fluff stage or doesn't get along with other pets and it finds itself in need of a new home.

I am hoping this story will encourage future rabbit owners to do a couple of things:
  • First if you are going to own a rabbit or if you receive one as a gift, learn about it basic things, like it's birth date, it's breed and how big it is going to get.  Learn about it's housing requirements and nutritional needs.  I do have to say that in regards to his housing needs this rabbit was spoiled.  A nice big cage with a good sized litter box, treats, toys and even a hideaway he can duck into when he wants.  As you can see from the picture of his cage above.
  • Second if you are buying a rabbit, be prepared to say no this is not what I expected or at least be aware of what you are getting into when you buy the bunny anyway.  I was completely unprepared to see a rabbit that was not the breed we had come to purchase.  I could have changed my mind right then.  So if you are set on something and the seller doesn't provide that be brave enough to stick to your guns and walk away.
  • Third recognize that sometimes you can be a sucker for a well told story.  If the rabbit in question had not been in a home with dogs.  If the owner hadn't been worried about the rabbit's safety I would have walked away.  So yes, even I am a sucker sometimes for a a well told story, whether it is true or not.
I am proud of my daughter.  She came in she watched, she listened to all the questions I asked trying to learn the rabbits history, she checked the rabbit over very carefully to make sure he was healthy and she paid the gal for a bunny that I had told her with a look we were taking home without complaint even though he didn't fit into her breeding program.  Now don't get me wrong it was my decision and I paid her back the money she spent when we got home, because of that.  And while I swore when we started with rabbits I would never have an indoor house bunny, I admit that we have all come to enjoy his company in the house.

I have my suspicions that Twix is a poorly marked Harlequin breed of rabbit.  His size and fur and coloring lead me to believe this but we will never know for sure.  I plan to give him a good 8 months to grow up before I try to narrow it down based on how big he gets when he is done growing.

It is a spoiled pet life for this little mixed mystery.  And yes if there is someone out there looking for a fantastic pet rabbit that likes to have the run of a dog free house and explore everything then he would be the bunny for you and I would be willing to consider selling him.  If not then he will be spoiled and loved all of his days by my own children.

No bunny could ask for anything more. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

5 Weeks Old and Playing Leapfrog

Update on Baccara Rose & Swift's Kits.

They are growing well and will hit the 5 week mark on Christmas Day. 2 does and 3 bucks and one baby I am just not certain about yet.

We have also picked names for all of them:

Black Velvet
Black Pearl

We also had an unfortunate injury recently as well.  Mama caught and ripped an ear on one of the kits during nursing time.  It is healing up okay but there is going to be a scar and he won't be a show prospect unless it heals together completely and the scar is not super obvious.

Which means that I will have one buck for sale as brood or pet quality when these guys wean in mid January.

All of them are super friendly and love to explore.  They crowd the hutch door when we come out for feeding and visiting time so they can be the first out for holding and whatever else we are doing that day.  They also seem to have decided that the best game is leapfrog over the top of mama.  It is so much fun to watch their antics at this age.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

1 Sanctioned Open Show for English Spots

As those of you who follow the blog know my daughter Seriah is raising and breeding English Spot rabbits.  Well, many of you may not know that they are one of the rarer breeds in our area and aren't always sanctioned for earning show points at the shows we attend because of this.

So we at the Burton Bunny Bowery have decided to work at promoting the breed this year and have started by donating the sanction fees for one of the three shows that will be put on by the Mid-Tex Rabbit Breeders Association in Killeen, TX on January 18th-19th.

So for all you English Spot owners, breeders, and lovers out there.  Make this a show to attend and join us as we promote this beautiful breed of rabbit in January.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas Gifts are Here!

Meet Clarissa's Christmas doe.  She is awaiting a name until after Christmas when Clarissa finally learns about her and gets to pick one for her.  We will see what she come up with.  She is a red mini rex doe who was born on January 11, 2018.  A big Thank you goes to Steven Mckinney from Our Wild Hares Rabbitry who sold her to us and let her join my daughters mini rex herd.  She is the sweetest thing and loves to be held and get attention.

Meet Seriah's Christmas doe.  She doesn't know it yet but we have added a wonderful young pedigreed chocolate English Spot doe to the herd.  Still a junior she was born July 28, 2018.  A big Thank you goes to my friend Ginger Reich at Elkhorn Rabbitry for getting me set up with her and helping make my daughters Christmas an exciting one.She is full of energy and loves to get attention.  I am looking for to finding out what my daughter will name her and see how she does at the shows this spring.

Meet Treysen's Christmas buck.  He is a proven pedigreed senior Black Tort Holland Lop buck.  Born May 9, 2016.  He has the funniest personality ever.  Every time I come into the rabbitry he is dancing in circles and making little noises of excitement.  He spins and chirps and simply can't wait until you pick him up and pet him.  He is such a mellow guy and I think Treysen is going to absolutely love him.  A big thank you goes to Rocky Meadow Farm for letting us add this wonderful guy to my son's holland lop herd.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Our Rabbitry Name is Official

The mail came yesterday and it is official our Rabbitry's Name is approved and we have the certificate to prove it.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Broken Mini Rex's Singleton Litter Leaves Us Sad Today

Last night when I got home from my daughter's symphony concert I found our broken black mini rex Clarilla nest building and pulling fur like she was going to make herself bald.  As you can imagine this sparked a lot of excitement and anticipation here in our home.

All of our past litters were born in the wee hours of the night while we have slept and never before have I had the opportunity to watch mama doe nest or give birth.  I was able to stay up pretty late for the event this time since it was underway much earlier in the evening.  You can watch the video I took of the her below.

It was an amazing event and I feel very blessed to have been able to witness the birth of her single kit last night.  Unfortunately it is common for first time dam's to lose whole litters and it is even more difficult for those litters when they are singleton's and don't have litter mates to help each other keep warm.  This morning during feeding time, I noticed that our singleton was plastered with fur from mom all over his face and cold.  So we brought mom and kit in warmed the baby up, cleaned the last of the birthing mess off of him and gave him a chance to nurse.  Then we took them both back out to the barn.

When checking on the kit two hours later and this tiny single kit had managed to uncover itself and get so cold it might as well have been frozen.  We are very sad here today as we announce that all attempts to revive the kit were unsuccessful.  Since we know that first litters are usually difficult while sad we are still hopeful that Clarilla's future litters will be more successful.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Meat Pen For Mid to Late January

We are starting to breed meat pens for 4H and FFA.  Currently we have one pen of black new zealands available with a breed date of 10-19-18 and a birth date of 11-20-18.  Perfect for mid to late January competitions.  $200.00 for a set of four rabbits.  They will be 10 weeks old on January 29, 2019.

Friday, December 7, 2018

O Holland Lops, O Holland Lops, Welcome to the Family

As the holiday season approaches I find myself wandering the rabbit breeders and rabbit sale groups on Facebook, looking for those bunnies that need to be re-homed because nobody has time for them anymore, or meat rabbits that people are getting rid of because they don't want to raise them anymore, and even looking for the next perfect rabbit that I just have to have for my show team for next year, that might or might not be on sale because of the holidays and people wanting or needing extra barn space or spending money.

Of coarse I found a group of Holland Lops that I couldn't resist.  Don't we always find something we want when we spend time window shopping?  The seven of these rabbits came together and I am beyond pleased to announce that we will be raising, breeding, showing and selling pedigreed Blue Eyed White Holland Lops in the very near future.  A big thank you goes to Lisa Weeks for allowing us the privledge of taking in her rabbits and adding them to the herd.

Meet Cookie a proven senior Black Tort doe from Quietcreek's lines born on May 7, 2014.  She is going to make a lovely addition to Treysen's Black Tort breeding lines.

Meet Ginger Snap a senior Blue Tort doe also from Quietcreek's lines and one of Cookie's daughters.  Born August 15, 2017 we are looking forward to seeing what she has to offer as a dam and on the show team in the spring.

Meet Vanilla N' Cream our proven senior Blue Eyed White doe.  She is from the Get Lucky Rabbitry out of Missouri.  Born May 19, 2015 we are looking forward to breeding her and seeing what her offspring have to offer.  She is being partnered with Socks and will hopefully be expecting soon.

Meet Sapphire a lovely Blue Vienna Marked senior doe.  You would almost miss the vienna markings completely except for a very small white spot on the tip of her nose.  Born October 15, 2017 she is a full sister to Socks and since her sire was blue eyed white, we are looking forward to breeding her and seeing what her children have in store for us.

Meet Mystique a senior broken blue tort doe.  She is very lightly marked and unfortunately missing her nose markings which will keep her from joining the show team.  We are going to be test breeding her to determine if she is a poorly marked broken or a vienna carrier who could be added to our blue eyed white program.

Meet Smoky a senior broken blue tort buck.  He likes to lay around and get attention and is already making himself a favorite among the children.  We are looking forward to starting a line of blue torts and he is going to be partnered with Ginger Snap in the near future.

Meet Socks a senior Black - Vienna Marked blue eyed buck.  One of Cookie's sons with a blue eyed white sire.  Born on October 15, 2017.  While his vienna markings keep him from the show table, the fact that he is a blue eyed white carrier gives us great hopes that he will help give us a strong start to our blue eyed white lines.

All of our new additions are get settled into the barn here at the bowery and we will begin working with them on posing.  What a wonderful holiday addition and the babies we will be looking forward to showing in the spring.  My son Treysen is in heaven with these new bunnies in the barn and I admit that I have caught his enthusiasm.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Swift earns his legs for Grand Champion

Our Stillwater, Oklahoma Fall Show Results from 11-10-18 are all finally here and Swift has all he needs to become a Grand Champion.

I previously posted the results from the morning show of the day and now that I have results I can share with you how the afternoon show went in Stillwater.

The second show of the day was also full of fantastic results.  Swift took Best Opposite Sex of Variety in this show and won his third leg.  This means that we can register him at the first show we attend in January of 2019 and after that we can send in the paperwork to get his Grand Champion certificate.  I can't think of a better way to end the current show year or start the next one.  We are looking forward to his future here at the bowery as he heads up our 2019 show team and sires the next round of kits for us here at the farm.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Onyx for Sale

It is with mixed feeling that we retire our good boy Onyx from the show team.  He is a doll to work with and has a wonderful personality with firm meaty loin and hindquarters and the size and width you want with new zealands, but as he approaches the two year old mark its time to give some of our up and coming bucks a chance to show what they have.  Still in his prime as far a brood buck goes and especially good for producing large litters and solid meat rabbits, we are currently using him in our breeding program but are now offering him for sale.

Meet our buck Onyx.  Born November 9, 2016; he is a (proven) pedigreed Black New Zealand.  Out of Rowbotham's line of rabbits.  He seems quite content to get attention especially if you will stroke his nose and forehead.  We are asking $50.00 for him.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Swift Missed Our Last Show of the Year

The year is winding down and so is our plans for rabbit shows for the year.  The latest show that we attended was on November 17th up in Wichita, Kansas.  This show was an unexpected show we weren't planning to attend, but when Seriah finally got arrangements settled for purchasing her English Spot rabbits she has been saving for and wanting to get it became a last minute show.

As part of my process of deciding who gets to go I start doing weight checks and verifying age groups on each of the bunnies I am considering taking.  That left me with some tough decisions on who was going.  All except one of my junior does were bred or at least I was hoping they were bred so they were staying home.  And both of the Carrots and Swift transitioned to seniors a couple of days prior to the event and Carrots was 3/4 of a pound under senior weight so he was not going.

While I was weighing and checking Swift over I found a quarter sized spot on his hip that some how he had completely skinned while in the safety and comfort of his hutch.  No way was he going to the show.  We cleaned his skinned hip although it looked good and clean already and treated it with some bag balm.

Then I put him in a show carrier while I went over his hutch with a fine tooth comb so to speak.  Looking for anything that was sharp or sticking out or bent in such a way as to allow him to get himself caught up and scraped.  Not one thing did I find.  I did remove all the older clips and replace them with brand new ones, just to make sure everything was in good working over before returning him to his hutch.  Then we started in on daily wound watch.

Over the following week I checked him daily and watched as the skin quickly healed and hair started to grow back in.  Today he has the shortest and darkest jet black patch of round fur entirely covering the area and beyond it being shorter than anything else you would never know that he hurt himself.  I still don't know how it happened but I am grateful for the weekly habit of weigh checks and rabbit handling that we do here at the bowery, because it allows me to catch things in the early stages before they can become big problems.

My daughter and I had a wonderful time at the show, and I only ended up taking Sardona, Tucker, and Onyx but we came home with two new bunnies and Seriah is now on her way towards raising English Spots here at the bowery.  And so the 2018 show season wraps up here as we take December off to raise our fall litters and help make sure all of our intermediates who are transitioning to seniors keep condition and make senior weight as we look forward to the holidays and upcoming 2019 show year.

East Texas Rabbit Breeders Association (ETRBA) Fall Extravaganza Show Results

Hot off the Presses! Or straight out of email as it were in our modern day technology we are excited to finally share the show results from the 2018 ETRBA Fall Extravaganza show we attended in Mesquite, Texas on November 3, 2018.

Our intermediate black New Zealand buck Swift won a Best of Variety and gets his first leg toward a grand championship in the morning show and took first in class in the afternoon show.

Our intermediate red New Zealand buck Carrots took first in class in the morning show and he also won a Best of Variety and his first leg toward a grand championship in the afternoon show.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Swift Wins Best of Variety

Recently I attended a double show in Stillwater, Oklahoma with my son.  He came to show his Holland Lop Kana and I brought several of our New Zealands.  Well I have the first show's reports from the day and we are pretty pleased with the results.

Treysen's Holland Lop Kana earned 1st in class for the youth show.

Our black New Zealand buck Swift has been showing quite well at the competitions we have attended this fall.  He earned 1st in class as well as Best of Variety and his second leg towards a grand championship.

Our broken red buck Tucker and our red buck Carrots both also earned 1st in class for their groups.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

10 days old and exploring the world and starting to open their eyes

Baccara Rose's kits turned 10 days old yesterday.  All six of them are growing well and have started opening their eyes.  They were so squirmy today that trying to get them to hold still for photos didn't work out very well as you can see from a definite lack of line up for cute facial shots.  So we decided a little video would be just the ticket.  So you can enjoy seeing their little squirmy antics as much as well are.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Free Download: Mini Rex Evaluation Rating Sheet

Recently I created a new zealand evaluation and rating sheet to help me with the process of understanding and evaluating my rabbits when it comes to deciding which rabbits I should be breeding to which and which kits and juniors are showing the best development and body type to keep for the show team and as future breeders.  And since I found it so helpful I decided that a rating sheet for my daughter to use with her mini rexes would be worth taking the time to put together as well.

So, I spent  a couple of afternoons combing through and pouring over the 2016-2020 Standard of Perfection and I put together a three page rating sheet to help me remember what to look for as I evaluate my bucks and does for breeding pairs and for evaluating the future litters they will have.

Here is a sample of the tri-color section.  I created a two page general evaluation sheet and then created a six page sheet where I break down each color variety with requirements to look for and score as well as their faults to check for and disqualifications (D/Q) to evaluate.  The idea behind this is that you can simply select and print only the color variety that you need to evaluate.

Since I am hoping this will be a great tool, I am making it available to you as well.  This is a free printable resource.  Please feel free the make changes to it to suit your needs and use as many copies as you like.  I only ask that you direct people to my blog to download their own copy and do not host the file anywhere on the internet without written permission from me.  Thank you.  You can check it out and download it for free from google drive here: Mini Rex Rating Sheet Download.

As always, I would love to hear from you.  If you have comments or suggestions about how to make this form better send them my way.  Or if you have a story about how this form has helped you I would love to hear about it.  If you love the rating sheet and want to say thanks we are always accepting donations to help feed the rabbits.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Spots, Spots, English Spots!

What is it about children that make them so determined to do their own thing?  We began with everyone so excited to help me with the new zealands I had chosen for meat raising.  Then we discovered rabbit shows and realized that we all enjoyed it.  And now all three of my older children have decided that they want to focus on their own breed of rabbits.

My oldest Seriah is no exception.  Having discovered a love of rabbits and after seeing all the different breeds of rabbits at a couple of the shows she decided that she needed to have her own breed of rabbit to raise and show as well.  She picked English Spot rabbits.

She managed to pick a breed that is harder to find and isn't always on the list of sanctioned breeds for rabbit shows.  The English Spot also happens to be a breed of rabbit that I know absolutely nothing about yet.

So the race is on.  Not only do I need to learn as much as I can about the breed but so does my daughter.  And she might find herself having to work at promoting this beautiful breed of rabbit if she wants to compete with them at the rabbit shows.

Meet Houdini a pedigree black English Spot buck born on May 25, 2018.  Our first English Spot to join the bowery herd.  A big thank you goes to Brenna Oshel at Big & Small Animal Farm for helping us get started with English Spot rabbits and selling us both Houdini and his litter mate and brother Jax Lepus.

He is settling in nicely and is full of energy.  I don't think there is a time or moment that I am out in the rabbit barn when he isn't moving around his hutch with spare energy to burn.  He is happy to come to the door when we open it for attention and treats.  He was also our very first escapist.  Fortunately he loves attention enough that it was easy to get right up to him and collect him to return him to his cage.

Meet Jax Lepus a pedigree black English Spot buck born on May 25, 2018.  He came to us with his brother and litter mate Houdini as a two rabbits for the price of one deal.  He is super sweet and loves attention and is always as full of energy as his brother is.  My daughter named him Lepus after the constellation and Lepus is Latin for Hare.  We are looking forward to seeing what the judges think in the coming year.

Her first project now is to build herself a display table so that her bunnies have a place to exercise.  Since they are judged with natural movement and not posed they are going to need to have a chance to use all their energy running up and down her table.  And who knows after the table she might just decide all their energy should be focused with some rabbit agility and hopping courses.  Yes rabbit hopping and agility is a thing, and it has a big national club that puts on events and everything.  You can find out more about it at the American Hopping Association for Rabbits and Cavies.

I am proud of her for working all summer to save the money to pay for her cages, and for her own rabbits and supplies.  Rabbits have been one of the best teachers of communication, confidence, budgeting and responsibility that I could ask for.  It has truly been a pleasure to see not just my oldest but all three of my older children blossom as we begin to rabbit adventure.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Black New Zealand Babies Arrive

It is with great excitement and pleasure that we announce the arrival of Baccara Rose's and Swift's first litter of black new zealand kits on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.  Six little bundles of bunny joy to be grateful for just in time for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday while I was out in the afternoon doing cage cleaning and maintenance, trying to take advantage of the warmer weather we have had this week and I noticed that Baccara was pulling hay from her hay rack and stashing it in her nesting box.  So I gave her a huge handful to go with the already prepped and padded straw in the box and enjoyed watching this first time mom build a nest like a pro.  It is to date one of the very best nests I have ever seen built.  The hay and straw was practically woven together on all sides until there was a cozy little burrow.  Happy with her work and resting I finished my chores.

By the time evening feeding came around and we returned to the barn, she had delivered her entire litter and was happily munching on hay and pellets.  I am pleased to see this morning when I went to check on everyone that they are all full of energy and have nice round bellies.  I have a very grateful heart this morning for these six little miracles.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A/at/a Genetics and Otter vs Self-Color Kit Identification

I have been studying rabbit genetics of all things lately.  Mostly because a friend of mine has started to bounce around the idea of creating a new variety of New Zealand (NZ) Rabbit: Chocolate.  Then Clarissa decided she wanted to raise, breed and show mini rex and that added a whole new spin to the need to understand genetics since there are so many more colors and varieties of mini rex than their are NZ rabbits.  And their genetics are pretty simple breed white to white, red to red or broken red, black to black or broken black, and blue to blue or broken blue and never the colors shall mix.  But with mini rex colors and genetics are a completely different story.

Mini Rex come in the following colors:
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Tri-color: Black/Orange, Chocolate/Orange, Blue/Fawn, Lilac/Fawn
  • Castor
  • Chinchilla
  • Chocolate
  • Himalayan: Black, Blue
  • Lilac
  • Lynx
  • Opal
  • Otter: Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac
  • Red
  • Sable
  • Sable Point
  • Seal
  • Silver Marten: Black, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac
  • Smoke Pearl
  • Tortoise (Tort)
  • White: Blue Eyed White (BEW) & Red Eyed White (REW)
  • "Broken" followed by the color comprising the broken (for example: Broken Black)
It also seems that it would be worth mentioning that there are other colors that are possible such as harlequin & magpie (I mention these because you need them to breed tri-color but they are not recognized varieties by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) and not showable at this time.)

As you can see it is quite a list and in order to really be successful at breeding quality animals it is going to take some understanding of genetics and how they work.  Since the first gene I studied was black verses chocolate color (Bb).  You can read about that here.  The Aata gene seemed like the next logical choice especially when I stumbled upon a photo in one of my Facebook groups where they showed comparisons of types of this gene for kit identification and comparison.  Genes come in pairs and are listed in order of dominance so I am going to tell you about each gene from most dominant to least dominant.

A = gives you the look of a wild rabbit, with dark hairs called "ticking" mixed throughout their lighter colored body coat.  They will also have tan, fawn or white around their eye circles, in a triangle at the nape of their neck as well as on their feet, legs and inside their ears.  They will also have a white belly.  A gene is also called Agouti Pattern and mini rex varieties in this group are Castor, Chinchilla, Lynx, Opal and Red.

at = gives you self colored fur with no ring color or band in the middle of their fur and they also have no ticking.  They are solid colored on the top and body of their fur with tan, fawn or white around their eye circles, in a triangle at the nape of their neck as well as on their feet, legs and inside their ears.  They will also have a white belly.  at gene is also called Tan Pattern and mini rex varieties in this group are Otter and Silver Marten.

a = gives you solid colored fur that lacks rings or bands and is the same color throughout the fur.  a gene is called the Self-Color and mini rex varieties in this group are black, blue, chocolate and lilac.  This group also includes some genetically self rabbits with shading, but it is important to remember that a genetically self-colored rabbit will never have the agouti or tan pattern markings.  The shaded varieties of mini rex are seal, sable, sable point, smoke pearl, and tort.

What does this all mean when it comes to breeding rabbits?  Well depending upon the genetics of the breeding pair of rabbits you are going to have 4 possible combinations.  Lets say our example buck is AA and our example doe Aa.  I like to make a little table to help me understand the possible outcomes.  I take the bucks genes in blue and the does gene in pink and then I add each pair combination together.


The results are kits that can be either AA or Aa. Because the A is the most dominant all the offspring will look like the A agouti pattern rabbits.  The fun part in all of this is definitely the baby bunnies.  And learning how to identify the kits correctly can be a real challenge.  Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and this one does a fantastic job of showing you the differences between not only the Bb gene but also the ata gene.  I hope you find it as helpful as I did.

Photo provided by WindFall Farms

One of the comments that Windfall Farms made on the Facebook group post about identifying kits and how do you get so you can do it accurately everytime was this"Practice is the short answer. As kits self-colored (black, chocolate, blue and lilac) will be all one color. Otter (black otter, chocolate otter, blue otter, lilac otter) and Agouti (Castor, Amber, Opal and Lynx) will have white bellies, inner ears and markings at the back of the neck, nostrils and around the eyes."

A big thank you goes to WindFall Farms who was willing to share her picture of kit identification with me so I can share it with all of you.  You can find their Farm page on Facebook: WindFall Farms.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Just a Boy and His Bunny

We spent a couple weekends ago at the East Texas Rabbit Breeders Association (ETRBA) show in Mesquite, TX and we had a wonderful time.  We took several of our rabbits and a couple of them did quite well, but we are waiting to announce results until the official show report is received.

While the older three of my children and I were there at the show in between showing the rabbits they walked and walked the showroom.  At first I thought they were just enjoying seeing all the different breeds of rabbits, and meeting new people.  As I saw them talking to several people.  And I couldn't help but think good for them.  Being confident and being more outgoing then I was.  Oh I met new people and I enjoyed conversations but I certainly didn't seem to be attracting it the way my kids were.

Then my son came to me with excitement in his eyes and the hopeful expression on his face that I was certain meant trouble.  He explains to me that he has found the perfect Holland Lop rabbit and it is for sale and he wants to buy her.  She is a really nice doe and I just have to come see her for myself.  Well I was surprised and completely unprepared for this to happen.  My parent brain should have known better though.  So we went over and talked to both sets of people who had the only Holland Lops for sale at this particular show that we saw.

I asked questions about lops and we were warned that they are hard to breed and to expect a lot of litters to not survive.  We were also told that it is pretty competitive and that if he wanted to do well, he would have to be willing to spend a couple hundred dollars per rabbit.  Something I am not sure I was willing to do.  I know that pedigree show rabbits are more expensive I certainly didn't get my new zealands cheap, but several hundred dollars for one rabbit for a ten year old to try out a hobby is hard for me to contemplate and I can't begin to consider doing this.  Especially if I want him to learn responsibility and to earn his own way.

So I told Treysen that the decision was his because it would be his project.  He would be expected to pay for his own rabbits, their cages, supplies and feed.  He decided that this little black tort junior doe really was perfect for him and he spent his own money to buy her and bring her home.  My son couldn't be happier as she gives him smaller rabbits to handle and show.  I think my new zealands were a little bigger than he felt he could handle.  And he is saving his pennies for his next bunny purchase.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Free Download: New Zealand Evaluation Rating Sheet

I still very much consider myself a beginner to understanding and evaluating my rabbits when it comes to deciding which rabbits I should be breeding to which and which kits and juniors are showing the best development and body type to keep for the show team and as future breeders.

Today, while re-reading a couple of sections in Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits, I came across the rating sheet sample the author had shared for the Tan breed on page 117 in my edition of the book, and it gave me the idea to do a rating and evaluation sheet of my own for new zealands.

So, I spent the afternoon combing through and pouring over the 2016-2020 Standard of Perfection and I put together a three page rating sheet to help me remember what to look for as I evaluate my bucks and does for breeding pairs and for evaluating the future litters they will have.

Here is a sample of the third page where I break down each color variety with requirements to look for and score as well as their faults to check for and disqualifications (D/Q) to evaluate.

Since I am hoping this will be a great tool, I am making it available to you as well.  This is a free printable resource.  Please feel free the make changes to it to suit your needs and use as many copies as you like.  I only ask that you direct people to my blog to download their own copy and do not host the file anywhere on the internet without written permission from me.  Thank you.  You can check it out and download it for free from google drive here: New Zealand Rating Sheet Download.

As always, I would love to hear from you.  If you have comments or suggestions about how to make this form better send them my way.  Or if you have a story about how this form has helped you I would love to hear about it.  If you love the rating sheet and want to say thanks we are always accepting donations to help feed the rabbits.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

B/b Genetics and Chocolate New Zealands

I have been studying rabbit genetics of all things lately.  Mostly because a friend of mine has started to bounce around the idea of creating a new variety of New Zealand (NZ) Rabbit: Chocolate.  Her desire to bring friends and interested people on board for the project got me thinking about genetics and wondering how it all worked; especially if I was going to consider joining her in her chocolate NZ rabbit experiment.  So off I went to study genetics and this is what I learned.

There are ten different genes that help to determine the color of a rabbits fur.  They are A Through E, En, Du, Si, V, and W.  I have to be honest and admit that I am still learning so for now I am going to talk about the one I think I understand B and b.  Rabbits have 22 pairs of Chromosomes and the B gene or chromosome pair decides whether your rabbit has black or chocolate in their fur.

B = gives you a black band in agouti fur and in self colored fur it gives you a solid black color.
b = gives you a brown band in agouti fur and in self colored fur it gives you a solid chocolate color.

Now it gets interesting because we have to talk about which one comes first or is dominant in our chromosome pair.  When you have a BB pair of chromosomes they are the same and are called homozygous because they match and you will have a black furred rabbit who produces black furred offspring.  The B (black) is the dominant gene and when paired with a b (chocolate) gene the black will always win and be the color that shows in the fur.  This is called a heterozygous because they aren't they same and now the rabbit has a chance to produce chocolate offspring because it is a carrier of that recessive or non dominant b gene even though it looks black.  When you have a bb pair of chromosomes there is no dominant gene because they are both recessive and you have a chocolate furred rabbit who can't produce black furred offspring because it doesn't have the dominant gene.

So what does this mean if I want to try and breed chocolate NZ rabbits?

Well I have a couple of options.  I start with a test breeder or two that are chocolate.  I am thinking that I will want to have my test breeder be a chocolate satin because they have the same body type of a NZ and that will make developing this new variety a little easier.  Then I will need to breed my Black NZ bucks to this chocolate satin doe to see if any of the the offspring are chocolate.  Because I know b is recessive this breeding would let me see if any of my bucks carry this recessive gene even though they look black.  And because the black is always dominant I will probably need to test each one a couple of times just to be certain.  I will also need to do the same test breeding with my black NZ does to a chocolate satin buck to see if any of them are carriers of the recessive b gene.  Then if I get very lucky and I find that I have a buck and doe who do I will start breeding them exclusively until the random roll of the gene pool hits on some of their offspring and I get a kit or two that are chocolate because they received the bb pairing, by getting one b from each of their parents.

The next option that I have is to get a chocolate satin doe or two or a buck and breed them into my NZ line using their offspring to then test breed as chocolate carriers and continue as with the first options plan.

With either option, it is going to be a long process and project to get the future offspring to be consistently only bb animals and meet the NZ standard of perfection that is put out by the ARBA.  Not a project for the faint of heart, or even for the type of person who like results quickly and lacks the ability to see the bigger picture.  But the more I think about the more fun I think it would be to try it.  To be able to say I worked on that and I helped to develop a new variety and ultimately maybe improve the breed just a little bit.

If you are interested in learning or more joining the project you can find the group over on Facebook: Chocolate New Zealand Project.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Rabbit Topical First Aid: What to Keep in Your Kit

Barn chores are something that come with every rabbitry or any home, farm or place that keeps animals.  The proper care and keeping of the animals we raise is important to me and our barn chores here at the bowery are pretty standard for any rabbitry.  They include things like:
  • feed & water the rabbits
  • clean food and water containers
  • remove waste and clean dropping pans
  • dis-infect cages and spray them down when needed
  • weigh rabbits periodically
  • trim nails monthly
  • enjoy, hold, cuddle and appreciate all the bunnies
I am just now starting to realize just what a time commitment this is.  At first it is a couple of rabbits and it takes a couple of minutes out of day so it isn't a big deal.  These few minutes start to multiple with each rabbit that you add to your herd.  Today Clarissa and I went out at lunch time to do our weight checks and nail trimming for each of the rabbits we have.  Right now including our three kits who only needed to be weighed that makes seventeen rabbits.  Well, we took our time and slowly worked with each animal so we didn't stress them out and so they got to be held and snuggled and posed a little bit as well and by the time we were finished two hours had gone by.

Now you may think that I am complaining about how long it took, but I am not.  I enjoyed the time working with my daughter and taking care of the rabbits; and as far as fall days go it was on the warmer side so I can't even say I was cold.  No, the reason that I mention our barn chores and the time we try to take and spend with our rabbits on a regular basis is because of how important it is.

We discovered while we were weighing our buck Swift and trimming his nails that he had caught his hip on something and injured himself.  There was a nickel size patch of skin that had been torn back and the under tissue was exposed.  Now I am certainly not trying to gross anyone out so bare with me.  This injury is a first in our rabbitry.  Something that I was shocked to find since just Saturday he had been at a show in Stillwater, OK with no injuries at all.

Now I am asking myself how did this happen?  Looking closely at it it doesn't look like a bite, it looks like he got caught up on something and hurt himself trying to jerk free.  So back to the cage to investigate.  We removed the water bottle holder that had a screw and nut on the inside of the cage on the off chance that it might have been the cause.  Of this I am not certain since he would have had to be flipping and doing gymnastics to get his hip that high up in his cage, but I guess it is possible.  Nothing looks out of place and I am stumped.  So into an empty cage he goes, until I have a chance to go over every surface with my bare hands and find the sharp or poking and offending point that could have caused the injury.

But this does bring me to my topic of discussion today.  How do we treat scraps and cuts on a rabbit?  What is safe to use topically that won't harm them when them groom themselves?

My small list of topical go to's that I keep on hand in my rabbit first aid kit:
  • Bag Balm Udder Cream - treats minor cuts and sores for rabbits and other small animals.  Helps prevent infections and is a topical antimicrobial wash.
  • Vetericyn Opthalmic Gel - goes directly in the eye for irritated, and injured eyes.  It is an antimicrobial solution and helps prevent infection.
  • Vetericyn Plus Wound/Skin Spray - Treats skin abrasions lacerations minor irritations cuts and intact skin
  • Kwik Stop Styptic Powder - helps to quickly stop bleeding if a nail trim gets the nail quick.
So we cleaned the area with a damp clean cloth and sprayed it with Vetricyn Plus Wound Spray and now we watch and wait.  With daily checks to make sure Swift is healing properly and nothing gets infected.  I am of the opinion that if you don't have the time to check on each and every one of your animals everyday then you have too many animals and I am grateful that something as simple as weight checks and nail trims allowed us to catch a fresh injury so quickly before anymore damage was done or before it had a chance to get dirty or infected.  He will have rest and time to recover as he misses the next couple of shows we have planned to attend.  But I have high hopes that he will make a full recovery.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Time To Vote Buck or Doe?

You would never guess that trying to get baby bunnies to hold still and stay in a line up for a quick photo was at least as bad or worse than trying to get all five of my children to be happy and smile for the camera in a photo at the same time but it definitely was.  They are all so full of energy and bounce at this age.  So time for a vote Buck or Doe?  Leave your guess in the comments below.

Black Kit # 1 weighing in at 12oz today Buck or Doe?

Broken Kit # 2 with the black nose markings weighing in at 14oz today Buck or Doe?

Broken Kit # 3 with no nose markings weighing in at 13oz today Buck or Doe?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

And Her Heart Is Set On Tri-Color Mini Rex

Clarissa and Miss Pris

So my daughter Clarissa has been all in when it has come to rabbits from the very moment that I suggested we start raising them.  She is also very good at convincing me to give in and get her things when I probably shouldn't.

Case in point:  we are walking through a swap meet in the middle of May.  It is a warm day and she spies bunnies.  We were there looking for chicks.

We had a hutch at home mind you, I just hadn't decided what type of rabbit we were going to raise yet, except that I wanted it to be a meet breed and my book recommended starting with high quality pedigreed breeding stock.

All the couple selling the bunnies could tell us about the rabbits my daughter found was that they were young fryers.  So she at least found meat rabbits.

I should have known better then to take the kids with me to go animal shopping whether it be for rabbits or baby chickens or animals of any kind.  But there I was with my five kids in tow and a goner for sure.  Between all five kids trying to use reason and logic: like we already have a place to put them mom, and I will pay for her with my babysitting money, to the giant pleading eyes.  I gave in and we brought home 4 rabbits: Miss Pris a red eyed white (REW) new zealand mix, Patches a broken black mix, Nala a broken chinchilla mix, and Shadow a sable colored new zealand mix.  And my daughter found something she loves so much she has given up other hobbies and activities to keep doing and learning more about rabbits.

At first it was always being willing to go feed the bunnies and clean the cages.  She was also always watching the weather and making sure we got the hutches covered when it got too windy or it started to rain.  She also spent more time then even I did just sitting outside the hutches or sitting with her hand just resting on the floor of the cage so the rabbits would get used to her presence and recognize and trust her.  Then one day she came to me and said:

"Mom, if I stop doing horseback riding lessons can we use my lesson money for the rabbits, so I can raise a different breed then you?"

I have to admit that I was really surprised and very pleased.  Not only was she recognizing that her activities take money, time and resources but she also recognized that she was more interested in the rabbits then she was in horseback riding and had figured out a logical way to allow herself to continue to pursue and grow her very own rabbitry project.

We have both since grown and moved on these first rabbits taught us a lot.  First, the ones that bite all the time get called dinner very quickly.  Second, that I really did want pedigree stock, because not only did I want to breed and raise meat for my family, but I wanted to breed and sell good quality rabbits to others.  And Finally I discovered that I love rabbit shows and good quality rabbits are a must if you are going to be competitive and have fun at the shows.

So it is with much excitement and a little bit of motherly pride if I am honest that I am pleased to announce that Clarissa is starting her very own branch of our bowery which will be focused on mini-rex rabbits.  She has read and researched and looked at the different breeds and this is the breed that she has decided she wants to raise.  I think part of it is wanting a slightly smaller rabbit that she can lift and handle easier, but she may be in for a surprise on that score.  She has also researched and looked at all the different colors and varieties that mini-rex rabbits come in and she wants to breed Tri-Color.  So while I am sure that there will be other colors in the bowery as well her focus is going to be on the black/orange tri-color mini rex.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Rabbit Books I Recommend

Anybody who knows me very well will tell you that I have shelves and shelves of books on many different subjects through out my home.  From encyclopedias, non-fiction, self-help, history and how-to all the way down to fiction such as: westerns, fantasy, futuristic, historical, romance, classical, mythology and even some poetry.

My very good friends will even tell you that there is a stack of ten to twenty books on the night stand next to my bed that I am in the middle of reading, and another couple of smaller stacks on the chest under my bedroom window that I was reading and took a pause from or plan to read next.  My plan to read them all, maybe even all at the same time.  I just plan to read them all very, very slowly.

I am also a research and learn a little bit before you start type of person once in a while and with rabbits that was definitely the case.  Mostly because I really wanted to have them long before we were ready to or had the space we needed to have them.  And it was a good thing we waited too.  Otherwise I would have had to figure out how to move them from a rental home to a our home on a 1/4 acre lot in Utah across the country to Oklahoma and into a hotel for 4 weeks before finally moving into the home we are in now that sits on 5 acres.

So I bought a couple of books, and checked out many more from the library and read.  I read and I kept reading at first not knowing which ones where full of less than stellar information and which ones were worth keeping on my shelves.  Now that I am several months into the trenches though and several years into the readings I definitely have some books that I will be keeping in my personal library and would recommend so anyone interested in learning more about rabbits.

Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits by: Bob Bennett

Okay, I know there are many mixed opinions on this book and I will agree that some of the information is a little outdated when it comes to nutrition.  The other thing I really wish it had was color photo's of the rabbit breeds in the back.  There is a section which introduces you to some of the breeds of rabbits and the photo's are all in black in white.  That being said it is an excellent resource that I keep coming back to again and again.  It covers the basics about rabbits and it covers them well, with things like breeding, cages sizes & equipment, how to pick a breed and purchasing good foundation stock.  Anyone interested in raising rabbits will learn something new and valuable reading this book.

Beyond the Pellet: Feeding Rabbits Naturally by: Boyd Craven Jr. & Rick Worden

This is a slim little volume that I bought to help fill in the nutritional gaps from Storey's Guide and because I wanted to know what kinds of natural from the garden treats I could give my rabbits on a daily, or semi-daily basis.  While I didn't feel that the book slim as it was went into a lot of depth on nutrition and providing a balanced diet, it did do a good job of helping me know what was safe to feed my rabbits and what to steer clear of.  You can find the author's facebook page here.

I also read their first book Backyard Meat Rabbits: The Urban Rabbit Project Volume I and I found it very vague and not as useful as I had hoped especially if you have read Storey's Guide.

The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: All Your Questions Answered about: Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding and Kindling by: Karen Patry

This book is set up as page after page of question and answer.  The questions are broken up into catagories and it isn't something you are going to pick up and read in an afternoon.  However, it is a great reference to have on hand, because when something comes up you can flip to that section and scan the questions until to find the one that applies and read through the answer.  I spent a month or so carrying this book around in my purse because I could pull it out waiting in line or a doctor's office waiting room and read a few questions and there was always a quick and easy stopping point to pause and go on with whatever you had been waiting for.  Definitely worth a place on your shelf and the time it takes to read it.

The American Rabbit Breeder's Association's Standard of Perfection 2016-2020

This spiral bound book is published by the ARBA every five years and is a must have for anyone wanting to raise and sell or show, high quality pedigree rabbits.  When I went to see my first breeder and even my first show several people recommended that I spend the money and get a copy of this book so I would be able to understand my breed of rabbit better.  They were all right.  It has helped a great deal in evaluating rabbits I am considering purchasing as well as new litters of rabbits we have raised.  I really can't recommend this book enough.

The American Rabbit Breeder's Association's Official Guide Book: Raising Better Rabbits & Cavies

Okay, okay so here I am just a little bit guilty.  This book is on the top of my stack sitting on my nightstand.  I ordered it from the ARBA the same time that I ordered my copy of the Standard of Perfection and I am not finished reading it yet.  It has been interesting though learning a little bit about the history of the ARBA and I enjoyed the more complete breed section in this book compared to Storey's Guide.  There is some much in this book that I am looking forward to reading more of it each day that I get the opportunity.  I especially enjoyed the section on breeding rabbits and genetics.  So although I haven't finished it yet, it is another book I recommend rabbit keepers have on their shelves and read.

So there it is.  My list of recommended reading isn't a terribly long list but it is a place to start.  I hope that this helps those of you who are looking for a place to start learning more about rabbits.  Do you know of a book that I missed?  A book that is a must read and a keeper when it comes to rabbit raising and care?  Leave me the title in the comments below.  I am always looking for another good book to read.